2017 saw the return of Josh Rosen and Rodney Anderson who went on to be absolute studs after an injury-filled 2016 season. This article will look into fantasy players who saw injury in 2017 and make their case for Comeback Player of the Year in 2018.
Quarterbacks Returning from Injury
Kasim Hill/Tyrrell Pigrome, Maryland
Maryland’s 2017 season started off strong with a huge win over Texas who some had pegged to win the Big 12. However, Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill both tore ACL’s in back-to-back weeks leaving their owners in dismay as the lackluster Max Bortenschlager led them to a 2-8 record to end the season. I am a firm believer in the offensive genius of Matt Canada and expect big things from whichever of these guys take the job. Canada coached Jacoby Brissett into a third-round pick and had TV Scouts saying that Nathan Peterman could go in the second round of the 2017 draft. The fast-paced offense Canada brings to the table fits Pigrome or Hill like a glove and either could have a huge season when they are cleared to go.
Shea Patterson, Michigan
Shea Patterson’s PCL tear ended Patterson’s season in 2017 while also launching the career of Jordan Ta’Amu. With Ta’Amu cementing himself as the Ole Miss quarterback and a convenient coaching controversy, Patterson now finds himself in the Blue and Maize for the 2018 season. While I can see how Patterson could flop, there’s a high ceiling for him in 2018. Michigan has an incredible receiver duo in Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones and two more than capable backs in Karan Higdon and “Not Captain America” Chris Evans. If Harbaugh lets Patterson loose as a runner then he could make an interesting QB2 for most teams. Just hope he doesn’t force him to be a pocket passer.
Honorable Mentions: Deandre Francois, FSU; Riley Neal, Ball State
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Running Backs on the Comeback Trail
Malik Davis, Florida
I could find a way to fit most of Florida’s 2017 roster on this list, but Malik Davis is the only Gator I will focus on. The Sophomore gave Florida a much needed rushing threat with five straight 90-plus yard games before blowing out his knee against Georgia. Davis is now under the command of one of the best offensive minds in College Football in Dan Mullen and is fully cleared to go in 2018. Jordan Scarlett’s return could cut into Davis’ potential production but it would have to be difficult to leave that much talent on the sideline.
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Sticking with the SEC, Damarea Crockett saw his season derail when he required a shoulder surgery six games into the season. Crockett led all Missouri rushers in 2016 and was expected to break out in 2017 with a promising quarterback and an increase in carries. Crockett returns fully healed and ready to take on the world in 2018 and it shouldn’t be hard for him to get things going with Drew Lock who is, apparently, a first-round NFL prospect. Expect Crockett to top 1,000 yards again and play a key role in the passing game.
Honorable Mentions: Tre Watson, Texas; Jeremy Cox, ODU
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Returning Wide Receivers
Nick Westbrook, Indiana
For some unknown reason, Nick Westbrook was told to take the field on the opening kickoff against Ohio State on August 31 of last year. On that very play, a Junior coming off of a 900+ yard sophomore campaign tore his ACL defending a kickoff. Westbrook returns as the number one option with the graduation of Simmie Cobbs and the addition of Arizona-Transfer Brandon Dawkins only adds to his value. Westbrook may very well go undrafted in most leagues but don’t be afraid to use a late pick on him because he offers a very high floor and a decent ceiling going into 2018.
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Deebo Samuel was looking to be a top-tier receiving option with six touchdowns in three games but a broken leg got the better of him against Kentucky in week three. Samuel is cleared to play in 2018 and has already turned some fantasy owners heads with Samuel going in rounds five through seven in most mock drafts. He’s shown that he’s a homerun threat any time he touches the ball on offense or special teams and he has all the potential to be a Tier 2 fantasy receiver with solid quarterback play from Jake Bentley.
Honorable Mentions: Cody Thompson, Toledo; Mike Dudek, Illinois
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